Veterinary Neurology: A Study of This Specialty


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You are likely aware that there are many types of veterinarians. As an animal doctor you may have imagined yourself in many of these roles. Veterinarian neurology is a rewarding and challenging career option for those who are looking for a highly-specialized veterinary career.

As neurologists treat human patients, veterinarian neurologists also work to diagnose and treat disorders of the central nervous systems in animals. What does this actually mean in practice?

What is veterinary neuroscience?

Simply put, veterinary neuroscience is the study of the brain and spinal cord health of an animal. But there are many factors that go into it. These are the components of pets’ central nervous system:

The spinal cord: This is the spine of pets such as cats and dogs. It can be divided into different regions. These range from the neck to where the tail ends.

The brain: There are multiple areas in the brain that control behavior and basic functions of pets’ brains.

Fluid and tissues: The cerebrospinal fluid surrounds the central nervous systems and protects them.

There are many causes of neurological disorders in animals, including infections, cancers, congenital defects and immune system disorders.

These symptoms may indicate that a veterinary neurologist should be consulted:

  • Paralysis, abnormal gait, weakness or unexplained symptoms
  • Spinal pain
  • Movement problems and seizures
  • Balance loss
  • Cognitive or behavioral changes

What is a veterinary neurologist?

Veterinarian neurologists are specialists who work with patients’ primary care teams. The Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson highlights these advanced neurology services that these specialists are certified to offer:

  • Consultation on the brain, spine, and neuromuscular problems.
  • Advanced imaging, such as MRI or CT scans
  • EMG and EEG are electrodiagnostic evaluations
  • Neurosurgery
  • Ultrasound-guided Surgery and Other Procedures

These methods are used by veterinary neurologists to diagnose and create a treatment plan with the primary provider.

These are some of the most common neurological conditions in pets, such as dogs and cats:

  • Intervertebral disc Disease (IVDD).
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer
  • Degenerative disorders
  • Peripheral nerve disease
  • Trauma to the spine or brain

How to become an equine neurologist?

After obtaining their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees (DVM), qualified veterinary neurologists need to complete additional training. After graduating from veterinary school, a one-year internship is followed by a three year neurology residency.

After residency is completed, the last step for veterinary professionals who want to practice in the US will be to pass a board certification exam through the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

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